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Experts task graduating students, govt on entrepreneurship, youth empowerment


4819bbde-bb72-11e3-_561717cGraduates of Lagos City Polytechnic (LCP), Lagos, have been tasked to whip up their innate entrepreneurial skills in the face of the massive graduate unemployment prevalent in the country, while contributing to the economic growth of the nation.

They have also been cautioned against terminating their academic odysseys just yet, but continue to seek higher qualifications, as this was one of the surest ways to hit the zenith in life.

The Federal Government, on its part has been urged to deliver on its promise of making available take-off capital required by graduates of higher institutions, who might have received entrepreneurial training in schools.

Speaking at the 9th Convocation Ceremony in Lagos recently, where 801 students, comprising of 315 Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and 486 Higher National Diploma (HND) students were awarded their certificates, Chairman, LCP Governing Council Chairman, Babatunde Odufuwa, urged the graduates to be job creators rather than job seekers, reminding them that it was only about one tenth of graduates in the country that were lucky enough to secure jobs yearly.

He said: “Most graduates of higher institutions still look for jobs, rather than create jobs. It is speculated that only about one tenth of the graduates of Nigeria tertiary institutions secure employment. The low level of entrepreneurial propensity among students of higher education is perceived as the main reason why they are not starting their own businesses.

“Don’t wait to graduate to begin to think of what you’ll do for yourself. Attend talks, conferences, symposia while in school. Make connections and network during internships. Spend time in connecting with the right people that can enhance your career on social networks. Consider entrepreneurship while in school because preparation for the market place starts there.

He continued, “Consider owning your own businesses. The world outside there is demanding but there are many opportunities waiting for you to grow. Life is business and it must be approached with such mentality. Only then can you make anything reasonable out of it. It is a mentality that strives at all times towards maximising output; making the best of every opportunity. It is the mentality of investment, punctuality, taking initiatives, rising up early and sleeping late. It is a mentality that nothing works except one works it.

Odufuwa citing the mandate handed down by the Federal Government that all students of higher education, regardless of their disciplines, study an entrepreneurship course before they qualify for their degrees and diplomas in pursuant to its vision 20: 2020, urged the government to address the issue of take-off capital and seed money required for the graduates to move forward.

President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), who was also guest speaker at the event, Alhaji Ismaila Aderemi Bello, in his lecture titled: “Enhancing Youth Employment Through Entrepreneurial Education in Nigeria,” said that the only way youths can be empowered was through quality entrepreneurial education, which would make them self-employed and job creators.

Disclosing that the country has the highest unemployment rate in the world with 80 per cent of her youths being unemployed, and 10 per cent of the remaining 20 being underemployed, he posited that higher education should be able to design and inculcate into students, courses that enhance self-employment such as highly skilled technological studies and others like agriculture, home economics among others.

At the convocation, 14 outstanding students were awarded various prizes for excelling in their various course of study. Oriowo Olaiya Richard of the Computer Science Department of the institution emerged the overall best student of the school with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.77.

An Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) award recipient for emerging the overall best student of Accountancy Department of the institution with a 3.51 CGPA, Oke Omobusola Valentine in an interview with The Guardian expressed fulfillment at his achievement, stressing that he was very optimistic of making a mark in the country.

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